A researcher from the University of California, Berkeley says bromances are real – and good for you – after studying male rats hugging it out.
“A bromance can be a good thing,” said lead author Elizabeth Kirby.
“Males are … assumed to be instinctively aggressive. But even rats can have a good cuddle – essentially a male-male bromance – to help recover from a bad day.”
The study found bromances can have effects similar to those seen in romantic relationships, especially when dealing with stress, by raising the levels of oxytocin in the brain.
After a mildly stressful day, male rats housed in the same cage became more social and cooperative than they were in an unstressed environment. The rats huddled together and touched more, boosting oxytocin levels, which increase resilience in the face of stress and lead to longer, healthier lives.
“Having friends is not un-masculine,” Kirby added. “These rats are using their rat friendships to recover from what would otherwise be a negative experience.
“If rats can do it, men can do it too. And they definitely are, they just don’t get as much credit in the research for that.”